The grief a person feels after the loss of a parent can be immense no matter the person’s age. Whether you expected your parent’s passing due to old age or illness, or it happened suddenly, you likely feel a great deal of emotion over the situation. While taking the time to address your grief is important, if you intend to act as the executor of your parent’s Georgia estate, you also have some other matters to attend to.
Because probate is a legal process, leaving your emotions out of it as much as possible may be wise. You may have to deal with other family members who want answers about how the process is going and who are overly emotional themselves, and with financial and legal professionals as the case moves forward. Remaining level-headed and logical throughout may help the process go more quickly and smoothly.
Creating a list of tasks
As part of your logical approach, it may help you to create a list of steps to take to get the probate process started. One of the first things you may need to do is locate your parent’s will. If you knew ahead of time that you would act as the executor, you may already know where to locate the document. If not, ask family members, close friends or even your parent’s attorney about the possible location. You will need to submit the document to the court to open probate.
Settling an estate also involves handling numerous financial matters. As part of your list, you may want to include the following actions:
- Obtaining records pertaining to your loved one’s identity, which could include birth certificate, marriage certificate and death certificate
- Contacting applicable institutions that need to know of your parent’s passing, such as the Social Security Administration, insurance companies, banking institutions and creditors
- Creating an inventory of outstanding liabilities and bills
- Determining what tasks need to take place to manage your parent’s home until a family member takes it over or until it sells as part of probate
- Gathering your parent’s tax information
Having a checklist may help keep your duties in order, but it is also important to remember that necessary tasks may arise that you did not think of before. As the executor, you will need to handle every responsibility in an appropriate manner to ensure that the estate closes properly.